What it Takes to Be a Great Sales Professional
Tim Siefert took a sales team from $10 billion to $22 billion in only three years. Here’s what he says it takes to be a successful salesperson.
While this episode of Stay Paid is titled, “The 5 Traits of the Greats,” the first thing Tim talks about isn’t a trait. Instead, he talks about mentors.
Tim Siefert is a mentor to his niece, Kim Seifert, who is one of ReminderMedia’s most lauded and successful sales professionals. (Our clients LOVE HER.) But Tim has also been mentored throughout his career. In fact, Tim credits one of his mentors to putting him on the career path he’s been traveling for more than 30 years.
It is and always will be about the fundamentals
The advice Tim’s mentor gave him as he embarked on his first assignment into a new sales territory eventually led him to become the youngest division sales leader in the industry at 28 years old.
Since then, Tim has spent many years studying outstanding leaders to discover what makes for great sales leaders and teaching and training others about what he has learned. After all those years, studying leaders across all types of industries, he explains to Luke and Josh, “It is amazing that the basics, the fundamentals, never ever change.”
The five fundamental principles that make for great sales leaders
Before Time set out to conquer his first territory, his mentor handed him a binder of addresses, a copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (which he still reads every year), and some sage advice preserved in five fundamental principles.
The first is to adopt a work ethic that prioritizes action over outcomes. We cannot always control outcomes, but we can control what we do. Remember that nothing works until you do. Have the integrity to do what needs to be done even when no one is looking, day after day, and year after year.
The second is to discover the skills you need and master them. We’ve heard before in episode 195 with Kevin Ward that the difference between a professional and an amateur is amateurs only practice when they feel like it, which is rarely ever. You must practice your skills to be the best.
You’ve likely heard before that leaders are readers. Tim explains that a leader has to be well-read. You’ve got to gather knowledge from a wide range of sources and learn to read people and the environment.
The fourth principle is to adopt the mentality of a business owner. You may work for a company, but you need to think like an entrepreneur who owns that company. Where are the opportunities? What works? What needs to change? How can we be better?
Finally, each day we all have an opportunity to make a choice about how we’ll interact with the world. Choose to have an attitude of gratitude.
These five principles, when practiced and consistently applied over time, have not changed.
Success begins and ends with your mindset
There are times—it could be days or weeks—when we feel beaten down. As we experience the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s possible to feel down for months. Luke asks Tim about how to best help a salesperson (or anyone else who is struggling to come out of a funk).
For Tim, it’s all about mindset.
He suggests writing phrases and saying them to yourself, out loud, multiple times every day as if it were a group choral response: Nothing works until I do.
Talk about the principle of exponential growth and how things that we focus on are the things that expand and grow.
Narrow your focus, set achievable goals, and hold yourself accountable.
Realize that “no” is temporary . . . keep doing what you’re doing and don’t take anything personally.
In a word, FOCUS.
People will reveal their greatness
Josh wanted to know how to tell if someone you’re mentoring or coaching has the traits of greatness and embraces the five fundamental principles. Tim didn’t take long to respond . . .
“They understand the law of reciprocity.”
The most successful salespeople know that the only way to get what they want is to help others get what they want.
We’ve heard that great salespeople know how to ask really great questions. But Tim remarks that, especially today, great salespeople are great listeners.
If you fully understand the law of reciprocity, if you understand people, if you genuinely care about others, Tim says, you know to make a human connection before you ever get down to business. Ask empathetic questions and listen to the answers. You will, he says, eventually get what you want.
- The five things that the most successful sales professionals do every day:
- They take action.
- They master the skills they need.
- They strive to always learn.
- They think like a business owner.
- They adopt an attitude of gratitude.
- To get what you want, make sure you help others get what they want first.
- The best sales professionals ask great questions and listen with empathy.
- Pair the highest quality activity with the highest quality professional and you’ll get results.
Read the book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.
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